what type of feed is ok in self feeder?

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Teresa Lundquis

In the Brooder
Jul 23, 2016
I brought home 3, 3 yr old hens to be grasshopper control and also just get my feet wet with owning chickens. This is my first time owning some but I helped care for some 6 mos when I rented on a farm. I have 4 goats and a bunny who are manure makers too.

The previous owner of my hens ( plymouth barred rock) used organic GMO free, soy free feed, it looks like powder. I have read a lot about self feeder using a 3 " 90 degree PVC elbow and 5 gallon plastic bucket, sounds like a good idea to use this style. Since I paid $30 for the feed I want to use it. Will the powder type grain work ok? It's not super fine but it's like sugar. Is pellets type feed better to use in self feeder like with a 3 " pvc elbow and 5 gallon bucket ? I have seen some animal feed that is whole grain kind of.

Also can older chickens eat whole sunflower seeds, hulls and all? I want to use some thing that rattles in a cup to call them. My goats eat the black oil sunflower seed.

The man also grew barley grass for them, sprouted it 3" high and fed daily.

Powdered like you are describing is usually used to make a mash. They can eat and will love the whole sunflower seeds. If you are going with any automatic system pellets are the feed of choice for the least amount of waste.

I've dabbled in using both types of feeders - the one you are describing is ok but it doesn't scale well with bird size. It will only be good for your adults and I've had problems with ants getting into mine. The good is if you decide to get some young ones in the future and use smaller 2" elbows your chicks can eat the chick feed and your adults can't. Because I have both fireants and black ants I have to move these types of feeders every 3-4 days. You'd be surprised how much ants can pack off....

My trigger feeders have been going strong for five years now. I use a 1" spade drill bit and some pipe. These are good for 4 week old chicks on up to adults, no adjustments needed. They are ant proof and hurricane/sideways rain proof. https://www.backyardchickens.com/t/485925/auto-feeder/20 Here is a thread discussing this type and I'll attach a picture since mine have disappeared. That one held about a week's worth of feed for 5 LF Cochins. Knowing how playful goats are this might be a better option as they won't be able to knock it around like a partially empty bucket. :)

My goats are trying to figure out how they can get in on the new girls feed lol. I am keeping the whole tube inside their coop for now. This photo give me an idea though, thanks.

Can the girls make themselves fat on free choice food?
Chickens self-regulate, so you can leave food for them 24/7 if you wish. If you have pest problems you can take it away at night, I don't so I leave their feeder filled (mine's basically a PVC pipe with an opening at bottom, no trigger, came with the coop).

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